To most people, it is tough to imagine that a time will come when they will not have the capacity to make crucial decisions on their own. However, thanks to the prevalence of conditions like dementia, there is a chance this might happen to you.
Fortunately, there is an answer for those who are keen to plan ahead: a power of attorney. This estate planning tool allows you to designate someone to make medical and financial decisions on your behalf when you can no longer do so on your own.
Here are four questions you need to ask when entrusting someone with a power of attorney.
Are they trustworthy?
The individual upon whom you designate the power of attorney will hold immense responsibilities. As such, you want someone you will trust to honor your wishes.
How easily reachable are they?
The person to whom you designate the power of attorney should be readily available on short notice. Ideally, you want someone who lives in the same town or, better still, neighborhood. While this is not a legal requirement, it helps when the individual resides in the same state as you are.
What are their qualifications?
The individual you designate the power of attorney should have the intellectual capacity to manage your finances. They should also have the mental ability to make sound and rational healthcare decisions for you. For a financial power of attorney, you want someone who understands the nature and complexities of your assets, as well as the law.
What are your family dynamics like?
Your family dynamics is equally important. If there are trust issues or any sort of conflict within the family, then you are better off designating a neutral person for this role to avoid potential disputes during the probate process.
As you can imagine, choosing a power of attorney can be extremely difficult. However, done properly, a power of attorney can give you peace of mind knowing that someone will step up to make the right financial and healthcare decisions on your behalf.